Time Not Wasted

I don't know if Arthur is still on TV or not but it was a pretty average children's program. It had none of the excitements of dangers and adventures to thrill a young boy and I imagine it didn't feature enough ponies or fairies to make it a little girl's favourite show either. It was pretty normal, ordinary and realistic (of course apart from the fact that the main character was an aardvark!). But one episode sticks out in my mind.
Arthur just came back from his school holidays and was asked what he got up to over the summer. He realised that he had done nothing all summer. Nothing except read. He laments at the waste of time that his summer has been. However,he soon recalls that through his books he has experienced all sorts of adventures, being a pirate on the seven seas being the only one that my hazy memory can bring to mind. He sees then that his summer has not been a waste after all. There's an episode you never have to watch again.
The past few days have been a bit like that for me. I did very little. I could have made a hatchet job of tiling our kitchen, I could have studied or prepared Bible studies or met real people, but I didn't. I was on a reading week at Corn Hill. Two days of sitting at home reading. Like Arthur I could easily feel like it was a waste of time. But that would forget where I was taken. I went on a journey. From the Town of Destruction to the Celestial City, I travelled with Christian on his journey in the John Bunyan classic Pilgrim's Progress. And I have to say that the journey has been worth it. Rereading this book has been a pleasure and a real challenge as well. I can understand why Spurgeon apparently read it hundreds of times.
Reading gets a bad press sometimes. In fairness books can't compete with the glitz and glamour of an X-Box or a Blu-Ray player or Sky TV. These things have their trendiness, technology and multi-millionpound  companies that promote them on their sides. But I wonder how many of them will be around in 350 years time? That's how long Pilgrim's Progress has been bringing people on Christian's journey. It probably was never trendy, it was hardly the latest technology and it never had a big company pushing it. It has just lasted because it is good and it helps people. 
So this Christmas, (I can't believe I'm saying that and it's not even December!) why not leave off all the Only Fools and Horses repeats or the new technological device that you were given, grab yourself a book, a good Christian one (why not Pilgrim's Progress?) that has stood the test of time, and read it. I can guarantee that you won't regret the time spent.              
Aaron* Williamson, 29/11/2012
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